Guest Column: Can I Sizzle You a Cigar?
It was a natural pairing: "The Cigar Marine" with his own cigars matched with signed copies of his book complete with "the" iconic image emblazoned on the cover. It also doesn't hurt that one of America's most prominently wounded and outspoken warriors came up with the idea to donate partial proceeds to support other wounded Marines. Now, how to sell this pairing?
We launched "The Cigar Marine" line with a standing room-only evening at Art of Cigars, complete with a WWII-era jeep, donated food and desserts, a local winery pouring outstanding zinfandels and ports, and an inspirational talk by Nick. Our in-house media specialist coordinated and promoted the event with mega-social media—Facebook, Pinterest, e-cards and more. Friends passed it on to their lists and it went viral in our region. Local media flooded in to take photos and conduct interviews. In addition to stellar sales of books, cigars and humidors, we now had our foundation to take the cigar line (and our book)… national.
To accomplish that, we included "action photos" from the event into our full color media kits, which include all the traditional items of interest—with the thrust not on the book, but on the cigars. Ruth's Cris isn't successful because it sells steaks; it is successful because it sells the sizzle that sells the meat. In our case, in this marketing thrust, the "sizzle" is the cigar line. And just as Ruth's Cris carries its appeal into your living room via TV, we are now poised to do the same thing in cigar magazines, on cigar blogs, in major cigar shops around military bases and elsewhere. It is fair to say that we could never have gotten copies of Once a Marine mentioned or offered for sale at these locations without pairing a cigar line with the book. (We are also sending cigars to every radio talk show and TV host who smokes them.)